Thursday, January 23, 2014

Green Cleaning in the New Year {January Natural Living Blog Carnival}


Welcome to the January 2014 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Starting the New Year Off Green. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are reflecting on the successes they had from last year, and setting goals for themselves this year. Check out all of the posts to get ideas on how you can start your New Year off green!
—–

Several months ago, I was busy working away in one room while my son was playing trains in his playroom when I started smelling something horrible. I recognized the smell of Windex, but couldn't place the other scent. I immediately ran to find the source and was shocked to find my son taking his trains through an engine wash, spraying them with window cleaner and a chrome cleaner for my husband's motorcycle. The smell was overwhelming, and though I knew he had not ingested any the thought of him breathing in all those fumes was scary. Now of course, I had always left all these cleaners far out of reach, but my sneaky little had managed to climb onto my washer and dryer and onto the shelves above where all of our cleaning supplies were kept. Seriously, scary.

It was in that moment that I decided something had to change.  I could not have my little guy getting into all these toxic chemicals again, especially with a new baby on the way! I had been reading a little bit on more natural cleaning solutions, and knew that at that time it was time to take the plunge and start creating my own more natural cleaners. It did not take long for me to become hooked. I realized that not only was it so much better for my family, but it was incredibly easy and cheap too. I discovered that most of my cleaning needs could be done easily with products we regularly had in the house- vinegar, water and baking soda. Truly, that is all you need!

A simple mixture of half water/half vinegar is the perfect all purpose cleaner. For counter top, windows, etc. I simply mix it in a spray bottle. For floors, the same solution can be put in a bucket. By itself, the mixture works just fine with those two ingredients. The downfall? Vinegar stinks. Sure, the smell fades very quickly but during the cleaning, it's definitely an issue. So, to calm the smell, you can also mix in some essential oils. Personally, I love using orange oil. It smells wonderful and orange is known to have great cleaning power. (If you'd prefer not to use oils, you can also steep citrus peels in the vinegar before mixing with water. It is more time consuming of course, but an even cheaper option too!) I have found that this cleaner works amazingly well for just about everything- even better than most store bought cleaners.

And if there is anything vinegar won't clean, chances are baking soda will to the job. Seriously, I've fallen in love with it- so many amazing uses...I wish I'd discovered it sooner. I won't go into all of them, but if you're interested just do a quick google search of uses for baking soda- you'll be amazed. For now, I'll just share my favorite. If there is one chore I hate the most, it is without a doubt doing the dishes. And my absolute least favorite thing to wash? The crock pot! Food gets cooked on and it seems near impossible to clean at times. Very frustrating, right? And then I learned the secret...just put a little baking soda at the bottom, add hot water and let it soak. Our water gets hot enough straight out of the faucet that we don't need too, but you can also run the crock pot for a little bit while it soaks as well. After maybe an hour-if that- all that cooked on food wipes away easily. After learning this secret, I've started using a baking soda & hot water soak on all my tricky dishes and it truly works wonders!

For the last several months of 2013, I switched many of our usual cleaners over to these simple, more natural solutions. One of my big goals for 2014 is to continue this progress. I have truly discovered that these solutions work so much better for us than anything I've tried in the past...and they're better for us too! I am learning more and more tips and tricks and cannot wait to learn more!

Have you made the switch to green cleaning? If you haven't what's keeping you from taking the plunge?
If you have, any great green cleaning tips and tricks to share?
—–
Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

9 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you've switched to vinegar! After I wrote my book, Vinegar Fridays, I had a reader contact me. She told me the story of finding her toddler in the bathroom sucking on a bottle of vinegar she found under the sink. Fortunately, she said, thanks to the book, she had just switched all her cleaning products to vinegar a couple weeks before. Imagine what could have happened if the toddler was sucking on toilet cleaner or bleach!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Most of our house cleaning is now done with soap, vinegar and baking soda: love them! I'm down to one (ancient) bottle of industrial window cleaner, but that did come in handy when even dishwashing soap and an abrasive pad couldn't remove the thick fog of "new car smell", a particularly sticky layer of toxic fumes that had condensed on the inside of our car windows.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We also use vinegar and baking soda for most of our cleaning! It's so easy and cheap, and nothing gets a dirty stove cleaner than baking soda!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I switched to vinegar when my daughter was ALMOST one year old. She found a bottle of cleaner, played with it, and spilled it ALL over the floor. What was I doing? Just going to the bathroom and enjoyed the peace. Little did I realize why it was so peaceful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love using natural cleaners! Vinegar is pretty much the only thing I clean with. Sometimes I'll use baking soda if need be.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We phased out most things like Windex a while back. I need to make a floor cleaner for my Swiffer style wet mop.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So scary! I still remember when my DS5 then 4 years old sprayed ammonia near my dd7's face. It was in an unlabeled bottle. Fortunately she was fine.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes! I use vinegar for cleaning and in my laundry. I really like microfiber cloths too. Just water and microfiber get most things clean. I have a 17 month old and an almost 4 year old and they both get into everything, so it's probably best for lots of reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I encourage my kids to help with the cleaning around the house, but I keep a good stock of green cleaning products in the cleaning cupboard so I know it's safe for them.

    ReplyDelete

"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24